Facing the Millennium girls basketball defense is flat-out awful. The guards on the perimeter constantly give little room for movement and are chipping passes away at incredible frequency. If you are able to get the ball into the paint, the Tigers have a few shot blockers and defend with a ferocity that makes it near impossible to get up a shot that isn’t contested. This stubborn and often aggravating defense has helped Millennium to the Division-I state semifinals.
One of the main cogs in the tiger his defensive machine is Passionate Amukamara.
“I’ve told her for three years I think she’s the best defensive player in the state. I thought that when she was a sophomore, junior, and a senior,” Millennium head girls basketball coach Courtland Rojeck said.
It’s fitting Passionate is, well, defensive.
Passionate is the youngest of six. Go through the Amukamara siblings and you’ll finda a lot of athletic achievement, and a lot of defense. Her older brother, Prince, was a standout defensive back for Nebraska and is currently playing for the New York Giants.
Older sister Promise, who along with their sister, Peace, play for the Arizona State women’s basketball team, is seventh in the Pac-12 in steals.
Getting defensive is in Passionate’s genes, as well as the drive and work ethic her older siblings instilled in her.
“We always had competitions at our house…and that made us more competitive,” Amukamara said. “They just taught me to basically work hard and everything will pay off.”
It has paid off, not only for Amukamara individually, but for the entire defense. The Tigers have given up just 36.4 points per game in 2015.
“She’s one of the most athletic kids I’ve coached, boy or girl,” Rojeck said, who also coaches the Millennium baseball team. “Paired with athleticism and competitiveness you have Passionate Amukamara, who can defend anyone”.
Guarding anyone is a luxury the Tigers will have to use on Friday as they take on the top-seeded Desert Vista Thunder.
If the Thunder score while Amukamara is on the floor, you better believe they’ve earned it.